Malise Ruthven is the author of Islam: A Very Short Introduction, Islam in the World: The Divine Supermarket (a study of Christian fundamentalism), A Fury for God: The Islamist Attack on America, A Satanic Affair: Salman Rushdie and the Wrath of Islam, and several other books. His latest book is Encounters with Islam: On Religion, Politics and Modernity.
Shi’ism: A Religion of Protest by Hamid Dabashi
The Other Side of the Mirror: An American Travels Through Syria by Brooke Allen
Muhammad and the Believers: At the Origins of Islam by Fred M. Donner
Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis
The Flight of the Intellectuals by Paul Berman
Nomad: From Islam to America by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman
Facts Are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade Without a Name by Timothy Garton Ash
Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West by Christopher Caldwell
What I Believe by Tariq Ramadan
Apocalyptic Islam and Iranian Shi’ism by Abbas Amanat
Sexual Politics in Modern Iran by Janet Afary
Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-first Century by Marc Sageman
Al Qaeda in Its Own Words edited by Gilles Kepel and Jean-Pierre Milelli, translated from the Arabic by Pascale Ghazaleh
The Sayyid Qutb Reader: Selected Writings on Politics, Religion, and Society edited by Albert J. Bergesen
Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 by Matthias Küntzel, translated from the German by Colin Meade
The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State by Noah Feldman
Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari’a by Abdullahi Ahmed an-Na'im
Arguing the Just War in Islam by John Kelsay
Islam: Past, Present and Future by Hans Küng, translated from the German by John Bowden
Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrines and Practice by Michael Bonner
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Secularism Confronts Islam by Olivier Roy, translated from the French by George Holoch
In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad by Tariq Ramadan
To Be a European Muslim by Tariq Ramadan
Western Muslims and the Future of Islam by Tariq Ramadan
Islam, the West and the Challenges of Modernity by Tariq Ramadan, translated by Said Amghar
The Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad and the Roots of the Sunni-Shia Schism by Barnaby Rogerson
It may be ironic, but it is not entirely surprising that the YouTube clip of what appears to be a badly made film satirizing the Prophet Muhammad appeared, causing mayhem and destruction—coinciding with the death of US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens—in the same week of September that the novelist Salman Rushdie published Joseph Anton. The memoir recounts Rushdie’s life as a “celebrity victim” after Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa calling for his death for offending Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses. Not to be outgunned by the late Ayatollah, the Pakistani railroad minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has now personally offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who murders the maker of Innocence of Muslims, the crude new film.
In recent years, apocalyptic rhetoric has turned up in international politics among terrorists and hard-line governments such as Iran, but also their adversaries in Washington, Israel, and elsewhere including the current Republican candidate for president.
Conceived by the British Museum with assistance from the Saudi Arabian government, Hajj is an unusual collaboration between a museum dedicated to secular learning and the current rulers of Islam’s holiest sites, who have lent many important works. And while Saudi Arabian officials had no role in the choice or presentation of objects loaned from other collections, the organizers have clearly gone to some lengths to accommodate their Saudi partners. The exhibition’s unskeptical approach seems also to reflect the fact that it is dedicated to a living religion; it lays out Muslim beliefs without exploring the archaeological and anthropological matrices from which they issue.The question this raises is: should a scholarly and secular institution refrain from such exploration in order to accommodate religious sensitivities?
In the flurry of commentaries about the July 22 Norway killings, certain features stand out. Commentators on the right are more inclined to dismiss Anders Behring Breivik as a deranged lunatic. By contrast, writers and bloggers on the left are more likely to take the view that there is some linkage between his monstrous crimes and new versions of far right ideologies that have been leaching into mainstream European politics. These divergent interpretations have brought fresh urgency to the question of whether highly charged political rhetoric can play a part in motivating extreme forms of violence.
More than five years after Danish artist Kurt Westergaard published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, lives continue to be lost and assassinations are still being attempted and plotted because Muslims have been angered by the display of such images.
Walking above the village of Mehrauli on Delhi’s southern perimeter, we pass a woman with a half-empty bottle of water—one of several we have already noticed since daybreak. Dressed immaculately in a brightly-colored sari, she emerges from behind a prickly bush on a tract of waste ground. If she were a man we might not have merited such discretion. India is about the only country in the world where you actually see human adults defecating. When traveling by road or rail you can be struck by the image of men squatting openly, impervious to the public gaze. The UN estimates that 600 million people—or 55 per cent of the Indian population—still defecate out of doors. The practice is clearly born of necessity in a crowded country where the development of public amenities has conspicuously failed to keep pace with economic and demographic growth.
Standing in the passport line at the Gare du Nord in Paris before boarding the Eurostar to London, I become aware of anxious rustling behind me. A family party includes a woman wearing the niqab, the tent-like veil worn in Arabic and Gulf countries that covers the face and head and has a slit for the eyes. I am relieved the woman is behind me in the queue. While she may have no problem passing the police booth marking the exit from France, the UK border control, which has its own booth just a few feet away (an arrangement that saves travelers from having to show their passports on arriving in London), tends to be more exacting. There may be further blockages at the X-ray machines, where passengers are expected to remove their outer garments. In Western Europe, such Muslim attire has long raised understandable—if awkward—security concerns; but in France, it has also provoked a much broader controversy about the nature of French society.